September 17, 2021
For weeks leading up to this Tuesday, political pundits and talking heads breathlessly opined on the future of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Was he too elite? Was the GOP poised to break through and recall him? Would this election be a bellwether for the midterms? Would Newsom reunite with Kimberly Guilfoyle after his defeat?? After Newsom squeaked out a barnburner with a mere 30-point victory (larger than his original election margin) here is what we know: Californians love elites, the state Democrats have a 2-1 voter edge, and it is ridiculously easy to get a recall on the ballot in the Golden State. There was, and still is, NOTHING TO SEE THERE!
Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas this week made the rather unusual move of criticizing other jurists for bringing their personal feelings and religious beliefs into the courtroom. This comes a week after SCOTUS colleague Amy Coney Barrett said she is afraid the court is being viewed as “too political.” In the Year of Our Lord 2021, can we all dispense with the notion that judges are not political? It is as dumb as trying to pretend ice cream isn’t cold, or that beer isn’t delicious. Just… stop.
Noted virologist Nicki Minaj made international headlines for claims about… yeah, you know this one by now. We were gonna make some lame-ass joke here, but then we realized that Ms. Minaj has a mere 23 MILLION Twitter followers. So yeah, feel free to do the math on how fast that goofy claim become a fact to a whoooooooole lot of people.
Word percolating around the hallowed halls in D.C. is that some folks would like to see Congress authorize stimulus payment number four in the near future. The fact the timeline on distributing said stimmies would line up just before the midterm elections is a mere coincidence, we are sure.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show is gonna be live and in person once again in January, which is (for us Keystone Staters) the only political news of note this week. Mark your calendars and pre-schedule your angioplasty now!
The state’s Liquor Control Board announced a two-bottle limit on some of it booze due to persistent supply chain problems. Before anyone goes overboard here, there may be valid reasons to privatize booze sales, but this ain’t one of them. Consider that Pennsylvania is one of, if not the largest, wholesale purchaser of liquor on the planet. If they can’t get it, you ain’t gonna find it either.
A state Senate panel voted to subpoena the living daylights out of the Department of State, a request that includes the entire state voter file with personal information attached, sending state Democrats to the actual moon with rage. Reached from Frau Mauro, Senate Dem leadership announced it will file suit against this move, with Attorney General Josh Shapiro striking a “you and what army?” pose for good measure. If you love raw political theater and you are not in PA, you are doing it wrong.
In response to the Senate GOP subpoena-thon, Gov. Tom Wolf has withdrawn the nomination of his choice to run the Department of State. Without us getting into arcane senate rules and procedure, let’s just say Wolf does not seem to want to drop her into the political equivalent of a dunk tank. Senate GOP members are just itching to show off their pitching arms.
Meanwhile, Wolf has also formed an advisory committee to help with the construction of new congressional maps. This is an awfully optimistic step for Governor Wolf, who believes he will be able to reach an agreement on such maps with a GOP-held General Assembly. The smart money says those maps end up being punted to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
It was the summer of ’72, and Edgar Winter was all over AM radio telling us to “come on and take a free ride.” Fast forward to 2021, and somewhere along the great Pennsylvania Turnpike, a car radio is tuned to “70s on 7” on Sirius, playing this song and blowing through the toll booth while the driver has ZERO intention of ever paying the fee. News broke this week that this scenario has cost the Pike a cool $104 million just last year, which went over really well in Harrisburg.
State Park visits are down from their pandemic peak, we learned this week. Sure, just use them and throw them away, people. Keep in mind that Pennsylvania reported about 6,000 new COVID cases yesterday before you cast our beloved parks to the side! You may wanna stay in the great outdoors just a bit longer.
Pennsylvania school districts are seeing a tenfold increase in children with COVID over this time last year, with more than 5,400 cases confirmed and some schools already returning to virtual learning. It is still amazing that after all this time, we are arrogant enough to believe this virus cares what our political beliefs are. COVID doesn’t listen to the school board, folks.
On that note, the state this week announced new data showing that 94% of all COVID cases in PA today are with people who are either unvaccinated or only partly vaccinated. Of course, this news will bolster people who point to the 6% and use it as evidence that the vaccine “doesn’t work.” If Joel Embid hits 94 out of 100 free throws, these are the people who will jump on Twitter and post “Proof that Joel Embid cannot shoot free throws.”
U.S. News and World Report this week ranked University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon University as two of the top schools in the nation. We believe U.S. News and World Report exists for the sole purpose of ranking stuff now, but in any case, congrats to Triad UPenn alum Mike Acker and Triad CMU product Brendan Schubert!
Pennsylvania government suffered a loss this week as Department of Corrections honcho John Wetzel announced he is leaving for greener pastures. Wetzel, first nominated by Gov. Tom Corbett, was one of the most effective cabinet members in recent memory. Good luck, Mr. Wetzel!
Over on the Triad Socials this week, be sure to catch our fearless leader, Roy Wells, as he looks back at John Vartan’s role in revitalizing Harrisburg.
Also, check out the details for the National Crime Victims Law Institute’s Voices for Justice event, which Triad was proud to sponsor!
And finally, mark your calendars, because Tuesdays with Triad’s Happy Hour is back next week on the Triad Penthouse overlooking the city. Drinks are from 4:30-6:30, and we might even feature some light lanternfly killing!
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to Galveston, Texas, where a man was cited by police for walking along a beach wearing a Halloween-style Michael Myers costume, complete with bloody fake knife. The man said he was simply trying to bring a little bit of positivity to all the gloom and doom being reported about an impending tropical storm. Yeah, pal. Nothing says “positivity” like an indestructible serial killer.
And that’s what passes for news ‘round these parts this week. We’ll be back next week with more of the same, and until then, have a great weekend!